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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
• • • • •
What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
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I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
and reinvention. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . How Do I Get Hired? 1. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed.firstly asking you to explore your talents. is a journey. and using. growth. In fact. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. What Do I Want to Do? 3. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . defenses. Once unmasked. Who Am I? 2. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. development. that is finding career direction. Exploring Your Talents First of all. and stresses of everyday life.
however considering the importance of what you're doing. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths".you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. Influence. Rank these in order. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. While no personality type is good or bad. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. One trick is to turn things around. DISC (Dominance. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. That said. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. and as you identify possible careers. Personality Inventories Next. and avoid the things that . You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people.
After all. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. your beliefs. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. and this gives you little information. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. The activities you get most satisfaction from. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have.8 frustrate and demotivate you. and your way of seeing the world. Tip: When you're doing this. . Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. many different people could perform well in these situations. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. and you'll probably underachieve.after all. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. 2. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. and where others didn't. In psychological terms. The talents you achieve most with. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. or to prefer one thing to another. You choose to react one way over another.
Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding.com iii. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. nor do they know about less well-known careers. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. extend out and brainstorm the other options available. they can't recommend new careers. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types.9 i. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive.assessment. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters. Useful ones are: Free. who may be much younger than you.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up. ii. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. industry and profession.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better.. . Using the test results as a starting point.com http://www. Once you've done this.. a radical career change may be the best thing. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company. Because of this.self-directed-search. and can only cope with the major career types. On the other hand.
and what the issues and problems within it are. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. v. if you're having trouble prioritizing. Pulling This Together. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. job availability. Yes. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. Participating in job fairs. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. Volunteering. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. Visiting company websites. so that you can understand industry trends. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices.10 iv. Also. job pay levels. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. • • • • • • • • • . and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. and perhaps to move. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. etc. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. Attending professional and trade shows. qualifications needed. We're not asking you to choose one now. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. this is quite tedious.org. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. Understanding where organizations are based. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. who the major players in it are. Career research is not something many people relish.
what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. faster. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. 3. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. a job that sounds really glamorous. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. in order to get there. the better the job . or a whole host of other distractions. • These are your short term goals. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. now you need to actually map your progress. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. you may have rejected several possible careers. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish.
You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. if you’re a science person. The effort however. You are no longer having fun. whatever the industry or the job title. the career that you are meant for will materialize.12 that you'll be able to choose. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. Likewise. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. You are suffering from stress or depression. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. You know when you are in a job you like. For example. Learning is replaced with routine. artistic people would be . emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. You are feeling unappreciated. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking.
Value scientific endeavors. intellectual. tools. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. Avoid activities that seem mundane. pessimistic. and machines. inflexible. persistent. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. In a perfect world. materialistic. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. 2. . You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. curious. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. or enjoy working with objects. commercial or "enterprising". or which demands a lot of number crunching.money. power. precise. but often lack leadership skills. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. and genuine. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. those that need interaction with other people. and reserved. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. but may not be good with people. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. Avoid "social" activities. Common traits: • Analytical. and status. practical. Value concrete and tangible things like . Common traits: • Hard-headed.
sensitive. Value social activities. 4. Conventional people . reproducing materials.14 3. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. understanding and able to teach others. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. introspective. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. Value aesthetics. emphatic. Conventional (C): 6. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. and cooperative. persuasive. great leaders and speakers. sociable. and enjoy using materials to create art. popular. 5. but may lack scientific ability. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. and exhibitionistic. filing. complicated . Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. training. adventurous. Common traits: • Generous. impractical and nonconformist. Common traits: • Extroverted. Common traits: • Idealistic. ambitious. and organizing written or numerical data. curing and enlightening others. Value political and economic achievement. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. developing. record keeping. tactful. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. patient. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. optimistic.
practical. Value business and economic achievement. and ideas. and methodical. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. This gives their Holland's code (for example. inflexible. ESA). Common traits: • Efficient. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. defensive.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. . data. conscientious. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. things. For example. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices.
Here again. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. To shape your job. family. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. just complete steps i and ii below. "How would my spouse. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. use our complete process. To find your ideal career according to this approach. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. However. one costs US$9. For instance. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. These are more Artistic responsibilities. and so on. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. (If so. There are many of these.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. One strategy to deal with this is to . not who we really are. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. ask yourself. entertainment. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you.
and do well. and set the goals that will lead you there. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. time limited goal. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. Likewise. In particular. and set realistic goals to change things. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do. .17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. If you're thinking about your career. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. look at our Life Plan Workbook. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones.
He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. Check on progress. Stephen. 3. though. adjust and continue. 4. has a particular flair for graphic design. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. Act to put positive change in place. Her successor. In short. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. Practically any job can be crafted. Rebecca. follow these steps: 1. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. they've both been really good performers.18 The previous post-holder. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. Decide what you want to change. at least to some extent. or using your knowledge to change working methods.) . The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. so that you can generate better results. Overall. So. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. and you can start whenever you want. improving both satisfaction and performance. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. you can play to your strengths. By subtly redesigning your job like this. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. 2. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". did a great job. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. using skills that you already have. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. however.
your colleagues. For example. For example. For example. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. more effective workforce. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". but the overall impact may well be negative. and the organization as a whole. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. go back to Step 1. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. In our example. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work.19 • Relationships: Here. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. For more on this. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. If this isn't the case. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. you should take into account your clients. your supervisor or manager. or a boost to your own self-esteem. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. Here. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. or more interaction with people from other departments.
What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. if you have any managerial responsibilities. and you feel good about what's happening. within your recrafted job. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. But don't wait for.20 Also. managerial input or approval before you start. nothing will come of it. 2 and 3 above. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. and you decide to make the necessary changes. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. as mentioned in Step 2. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. . the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. If everything checks out. you can let your changes become a habit. After all. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. check that it gives you what you want. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. By refocusing your job in this way. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. in itself. When you have a number of other people to supervise. lead to career enhancement opportunities. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. And of course. In job crafting. or expect.
Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. so that it suits you better. having checked they're having a positive effect. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. you put the changes into practice. in order to change aspects of your current job. you make sure they become a habit. and then. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. you may uncover some interesting ideas. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . increasing enjoyment. and so find out what might also work for you. you look for a win-win solution. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here.
Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. skills and experience. Toyota and Mars. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. however. Develop cross-functional skills. It can pay off for some. And yes. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open.) When you work for this kind of company. what you are doing now. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. And remember. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. Along with technical skills.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. innovation. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. it is critically important to continue your professional development. as your own circumstances change. To maximize your chances of success. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. Develop your competencies. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. A broad range of competencies. communication. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. do it. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. Otherwise. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. . use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. specialization is no longer the route of choice. Leadership. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. or in addition to. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. Get and remain tech-savvy. If you're in a highly technical field of work. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. Monitor and track your progress. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. If you're early in your career. your kit may need to adapt as well.
however stay ahead of the crowd . Your co-workers. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. Employers want to know what you will do for them. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. No one can accurately predict the future. your profession and the industry you are in. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. List the training you've completed. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. The more experience you get. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. Build and maintain a professional network. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. Learning another language.23 "Think global. Scan the environment. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. When you add a mentor or two to your network. When you have a ready list of things you have done. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. Join professional networking associations. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. • • • • • Track your duties. Note your volunteer work. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future." In many industries. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. projects and results. Create and maintain a success journal. • • • • Collect business cards. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant.
However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. you will eventually have to leave. and choosing to work in industries . however. This will lead to frustration. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. failure to achieve your potential. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. For many. and development may be blocked. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. With some forethought and planning. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. this will not be the case. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. even if it means a job. you can take control of your future career . monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. You need to become good at both to secure your future career.or career-change. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall.24 by keeping yourself informed. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. Develop realistic and achievable goals. Develop resilience.and for employers . Keep a clear career path open.that have long-term sustainability. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. Back your hunches and analysis with action. To learn more about resiliency. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry .if you're good at what you do. boredom and. in the long term. Because the future is uncertain. however hard you work. It is better to prepare now.
Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . But you fear you may not get the opportunity. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . for many people. In this article. What can you do? Well. You've always wanted to work in management. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere.25 today. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. So.even if they are not directly related to your current job. you can show initiative. you've got some useful skills. This is something you feel passionate about. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. Sure. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. But you currently have no management experience.
then applying for a related position. Well. . And. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. fundraising. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. You can write a few articles in your spare time. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. Many nonprofits . But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. Although you may not see immediate results. and more. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. As well as learning new skills. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. depending on the new company or position. However. When it's time to apply for that management position. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. project management. These skills are highly valued in the business world. as a volunteer. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. marketing. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. or reimburse you for outside classes. and to build up your portfolio. You're a good writer. and the good impression you'll make. in the long term. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. you won't get paid for it). writing. if you really want to make a career change. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. The company might offer training seminars. then consider volunteering for community organizations. The important thing is to see your name in print. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. Eventually. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. budgeting.
This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. . You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). personnel development. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. For example.on your lunch hour. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . each exploring a different area of relationship building. marketing. You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. you may have to use your vacation time. if you want to become a medical doctor. in the evenings. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. often use lectures from several different experts . Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. you can often complete a qualification in less time . but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. and so on. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management.and at a much lower cost . accounting and finance. And. or on weekends. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. however. workshops might offer several different lectures. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. Instead of a traditional management class. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. business management. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus.than a traditional school. For example. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. for example). Executive-level workshops.27 However. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. which may have only one lecture on building relationships.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. you attend class at the time and place of your choice . Skills like project management. With distance learning. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience.
'Man's Search for Meaning' . you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. If that's not practical. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. This will strengthen your qualifications. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. Where possible. Apply This to Your Life 1. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. – Viktor Frankl. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. to choose one's way. 3...28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. If you're still not sure. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. 2. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. 4. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. Consider where your next career move will be.
and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research.. or unable to move forward in some way. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. you're always free to choose how you react to it. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. So. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. if management is forced into making more layoffs. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. After all.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. Disappointment/unhappiness. As the above quote shows. You know. But at work. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. excitement. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. and work well under pressure. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. Anger/aggravation. Worry/nervousness. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. staff layoffs. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. but it's even more important for you to do so. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. After all. no matter what the situation is.. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. a boss who is too . how can you become better at handling your emotions. Dislike. In your personal life. compassion. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. feelings of joy. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. as well as your productivity. and department changes.
Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. and be specific. you could use this time to relax a little. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. if your boss is late for your meeting. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. that probably won't help you keep your job. Instead. Do this at least five times. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. When it's people who are causing your frustration. For instance. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. and your willingness to take risks at work. just move on. if you allow it. and that isn't good for anyone. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. For more on this. But this worry can easily get out of control. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. Whatever the reason. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. and nothing else. but also your productivity. such as anger. Or. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. and you sit there and worry. • • . Write it down. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. and this can impact not only your mental health.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. Focus on your breathing. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. and look at the situation. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. then you have more time to prepare.
and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. you can forget about these worries.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. it gives you some perspective on the situation. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. For instance. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . When you're worried and nervous about something. you can choose how you react in a situation. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. so learn to recognize them when they begin. knowing that you'll deal with them. Stopping your anger early is key. imagine how you would look. This interrupts your angry thoughts. Also. Before that time. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. Remember. no matter what. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. If you start to get angry. it can dent your self-confidence. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. But it's important to be professional.
If you've just suffered a major disappointment. delay the deadline. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. Treat the person with courtesy and respect.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. as you would treat anyone else. If they did. ups and downs. negative emotions can spread. and calmly leave the situation. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. Remember. you always have the power to change your situation. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. your energy will probably be low. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. . Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. Remember. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. After all. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. that doesn't mean you should as well. but make a small change – for example. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. you might be afraid to take another risk. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. Keep the goal. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. set the example. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way.
and that may move you forward too. If you're busy working away. then. your value to the company is your efficiency. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . and that you're ready to take on new ones. Why is it. and which types of feelings you face most often. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. But going beyond what's expected. If I promote you. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. Now. When those emotions begin to appear. Organizations move forward by solving problems. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. Think about it. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day.it means doing more of the RIGHT things. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . why should I promote you? Clearly. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . and stretching yourself beyond your current role. The longer you wait. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be.seemingly lessdeserving people .have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. You may even do your job exceptionally well.in your pursuit of a promotion. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. remember . It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities.33 Know what causes your negative emotions. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do.
look for opportunities to lead projects. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. and make sure you acquire these. When you have questions for your boss. For example. Expand your skill set. managers are given responsibility for something. To gain access to them. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. For example. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal.to similar positions in different departments . Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. Think about cost versus benefit. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. to learn and practice other skills. Then. Also. and stay current in your field. and you'll make your boss's job easier .to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. and make a plan to acquire those skills. You'll expand your range of experience. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. come prepared with solutions as well. This involves working well as part of a team. review bottom-line results. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks.it's a win-win! . while also demonstrating individual competence. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. Determine what you need to learn to add more value.34 You may even want to make lateral moves . perhaps by reading the industry press. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. gain experience in other areas of the company. If your exposure is broader. Get up-to-date. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role.
always think about how to do things better. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. Put forward your ideas. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization.it's often adding something of value as well. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. faster.others in your company who may want the same position you want . If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. even if you aren't sure of the response.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . Evaluate your strengths. find ways to work around them. Look for things that aren't being done at all. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. is a great benefit. think how you can improve them . Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. you'll probably end up disappointed. Find out what they did to get where they are. the better. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. and who might champion your ideas. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. . Set your goal. Rather than accept things as they are. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. Take note of who your internal competition might be . and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. Understand the big picture.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. Look for a mentor within the organization. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. The more you learn from other people's experiences. Having someone to talk to. How can you do something cheaper. When you run into obstacles. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss.
Using your knowledge of the organization. Simply doing what's expected of you. Get the Recognition You Deserve . Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. take on more of the right responsibilities. and communicate your promotion goals to others. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. Understand what drives your company's success. By being proactive. increase your value to the organization. expand your skill set. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. To prepare for promotion. That won't guarantee a promotion. As you execute your promotion plan. you can create the path to the position that you want. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. Let people know what you want. and even being the best at what you do.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. and then proactively work to achieve it. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. though. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. If you aren't ready yet. Network with people in the company. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. are not guarantees of advancement.
certificates. Unfortunately. you wish. it would seem odd. Then. and never show up late . But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. There are many types of recognition. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. and as a result. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. or a cold. Beside each one. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. Be sure to make yourself look good. because everyone wants something different. Why? Firstly. However. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. you would. people often just want simple praise. So. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. . you might forget something important that you've done. That includes you. or bonuses.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. so decide what type you want. and you don't point it out to him or her. hard check doesn't always communicate that. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. never miss deadlines.and to top it all off. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. Believe it or not. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. if you're a bit nervous. but also share credit where credit is due. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. You'd think that by doing all of this. there is a way to do this. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. at least once in a while.
Keep it genuine and honest.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. then people may notice. If you appear insincere. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. Yes. If so. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. For example. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. and you may look bad. then say it. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. As you talk. If you tell your boss directly. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. If this feels a little too much like bragging. • .he or she may be praising you. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. You know your boss and your business environment. Keep the focus off yourself. and you don't even realize it. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. For example. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. however. In your work environment. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. Before you get upset. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. If you have something good to say. You can also praise others in front of your boss. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions .in a private area. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. then do it carefully and tactfully . not-too-obvious way.
Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. If so. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise.and to do that. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. send them emails praising their efforts. and send copies to your boss. sending emails about small accomplishments." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. When you recognize the efforts of your team. they're likely to be older than 50. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . and they're not working for the government. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. If you're a team leader.or even one job .in their lives. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . your boss has to know what you've already done. If you notice co-workers doing something great. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better.
Your home life. another one opens. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. your organizational skills (time management. and the chance to do something new. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. be prepared. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. develop your nontechnical skills as well. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. Here. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues.40 pension. outsourcing. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. These days. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. but you can control how you look at it. Next. willingness to adapt to change. think "outside the box. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. team management. As a result of globalization. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. and leadership). The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. contracting. In today's job market. the technical skills you need can change quickly. If you're a good worker with marketable skills. because you'll know you've done all you can. the world is much different. and use this site to build solid career skills. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past.the "fear" of losing your job . so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. however. recession and even natural disaster. It can be an adventure. never making the break to search for something better." What else can you do . For more information. So. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. downsizing. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. • • . and keeping stress away. and your people skills. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. So.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable.
perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. and it's within your power to change it. Look for lateral transfers within your company. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). you keep him or her informed of your value. Take outside classes and read trade publications. but don't let these fears dominate the group. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. . leadership techniques. Also. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. to a different department or even a different branch.no matter what job you're doing.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. or what you're capable of doing." then take control and act. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. and you were forced to eliminate one position. Skills like effective time management. Start learning about other departments. and office organization can help you anywhere . allow everyone to voice their fears. It's your life. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. So. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. you ALWAYS have control. By talking about your accomplishments. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. make sure you give value to your company. Help another team member who's falling behind. Remember. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. so that you know what's going on in your field. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). This can create negativity and hurt morale. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. Be PROactive instead of REactive. if you don't tell her. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. have an open discussion.
Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career.the job. if work dries up in your area. living with job insecurity is a reality for many. if you are laid off. And save some money. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. If you wait until the last minute. and put yourself onto a new. your life is what you make of it! .or losing . and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon). When your résumé is current.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . Remember. remember that the world is full of opportunities. even if it's not the right match. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. Focus on the positive. If you do get laid off. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. Key Points In today's business world. Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). not on doubt and uncertainty. exciting path.
it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. the more you know. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. You might skip a stage. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. simply because more stress is involved. Acceptance. Anger. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. 3. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. Denial. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. Let's look at the stages in more detail. but then skip directly to acceptance. and think about what you can do to cope with each one. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. Depression 5. Also. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. These are: 1.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. After all. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. or in the same time frame. Sure. • Stage One: Denial . the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. it finally happened. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. Bargaining 4. 2.
If your anger causes you to treat others badly. this is likely to be more practical. This can be one of the most difficult stages.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. Hurting the people you love will push them away. In Kübler-Ross's original model. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. After all. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. Talk with family and friends. or the economy in general. if you've worked hard and "given your all". and that you have to live with them. your company. and even unjust or wrong things do happen. your boss. and make you feel worse. then you're in Stage One. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. . this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. especially for the people around you. To cope. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. To cope with denial. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. or seek counseling. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. or even a counselor. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. use anger management techniques.
as someone else also said.45 For instance. "Whenever one door closes. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. and move on. or reduced benefits. Put your energy into moving forward. Remember. You're grieving for your lost job. Helping others can be very healing. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. you might slip into a state of depression. learn from the experience. . Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. Or. You can call it fate or destiny. To cope with this stage. or train any new hires that come through the door. be aware of what you're doing. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. You might offer to work part-time. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. if it was your fault." But. Bargaining is almost always futile. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. forgive yourself. another one opens somewhere. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. your job right now is to find another job." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back.
you might skip some stages. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. incredible. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. anger. Talk about your emotions. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. depression and acceptance. and you're stronger because of it. You're a talented. or if it was your fault. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. Give yourself time to work through each stage. you've learned from it. do something productive. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. and keep moving forward. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. then seek help so you can move forward. Traditionally. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. It was very hard. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. if not impossible. for them to reach . And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. despite your best effort. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. Again.yet. bargaining. or go through all five: everyone is different.
there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. risk takers. However. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. you have a choice.47 upper management positions. and not afraid to "tell it like it is." However. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. the glass ceiling is still very real. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. . want to break through that glass. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. If you do. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. indeed. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. Today. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. And it's not always limited to gender or race. No matter how qualified or experienced. here are some steps to take.
and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. Start with the introduction to communication skills. because it probably won't be handed to you. set goals to get there. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. and attributes. If you achieve that goal. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. Communication skills will help you. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. no matter what job title you have. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. Be proactive and go after what you want. Each of these is complex. For example. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time.48 To further clarify these ideas. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. skills. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. then monitor and measure your performance.
If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. Past practices. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. to be effective and actually make it to the top. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. biases and stereotypes. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company.49 provide you with valuable information. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. Get involved with cross-functional teams. Read more about Professional Networking. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. However. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well.
For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. To do this. communication skills. That means proactively managing every . those at the top can see down. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. watch for discriminatory behavior. technical knowledge. while you can see up. Speak up and contribute in meetings. Don't just accept frustration and failure. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. You want people to see your competence. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. Visibility is very important. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. Remember. and develop plans to change them. leadership abilities. Know that you're doing everything right. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want.50 and ideas on how to find one. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. you need to champion and market yourself. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation.
and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. you might have to work harder than others. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. but most people don't succeed all on their own. and you may find new zones of opportunity. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. and monitor your progress. or anyone in your organization. your old boss is leaving. Apply some of the ideas in this article. You probably didn't plan for it. like it or not. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. hopefully. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it.51 step of your career. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. and potentially change the direction of your . a mentor. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement.this is a sign of strength. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. a strong network. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. Yet. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. So. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. Ask for support and assistance . not weakness. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. and.
during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. There's a proper balance that you can find. as well as which problems to avoid. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. different policies. So. This person needs your help. you're not facing reality. but doesn't. and you have to be supportive. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. and even a different management style. in this case. In this article. is nothing. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. so expect to change the way you work. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. and prove yourself. but doesn't know . it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. Things will likely be different. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. you are also new to your new boss. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. However. a new boss will likely have different opinions.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. In many ways. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. However. 2. so the boss may look to you for help. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. But you also need to know how and when to act. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant.
and you have to work with this new person. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. because she did your job before you got there. but don't appear too eager. . and sufficiently. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. Your new boss knows what you do. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. You have one relationship to manage with your boss.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. Even if your new boss knows what you do. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. yourself). this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. However. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). Your goal is to educate tactfully. (If you were competing for the job. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. 3. considerately. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. On the other hand. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. Tip: Be helpful. But your new boss may have a more general management background. If you do either of these. Offer your help. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. perhaps.53 it. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure.
Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. but at least you'll know. but we've summarized some of the information here. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role.. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • . and mutual availability as your guiding factors.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. but also figuring out who the key players are. Use common sense. For example. individual preferences.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice. Now What? covers this in detail. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above)..
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